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>> paul: this week on the journal editorial report. irs under fire over targeting of conservative groups. very same agency ramping up for the obamacare rollout. could the taxman play politics were your health insurance and up roar after reporters' phone records are seized. the administration says american lives were at risk but is that reason enough? inexcusable and americans have a right to be angry about it and i am angry about that. i will not tolerated this behavior in any agency but especially in the irs given the
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power that it has and the reach that it has in all of our lives. >> paul: welcome to the journal editorial report. i'm paul gigot. that was president obama reacting to just one of the controversies swirling around his administration, news that the internal revenue service targeted conservative groups in an election season. it's part san behavior asking the agency and reinforce many people's fears about government running amok. joining us is dan henninger, kim strasel and colin levy. what were they looking for in these groups? >> they were looking for basically anything they could get from these groups. they wanted donor information. they wanted information about member just about everything but
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the kitchen sink. it was extensive of the 170 groups that were targeted, treasury report found 58% of those had no reason for that to be happening. about a third of them had no political activity whatsoever that should have been acknowledged. >> and the reason is apply tax exempt status and their requests were delayed for many months? >> that is key point here. even under any benign understanding under which they were trying to look at these groups, nothing explains why these applications sat on the shelf sometimes for 13 months without any attention paid to them whatsoever. there is no question there was slow tracking of the tea party applications. that was quite different treatment that was accordeded other nonprofits that were asked for other information.
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>> paul: carl, what do you hear about the defenders of the irs. this was a few rogue employees. we heard that from the acting commissioner before he was fired this week, steven miller. that is not true. >> right, the people of ohio must be delighted to know that cincinnati is some political back water all of a sudden. by the way, this is a situation where they had specifically centralized all of the looking at tax exempt groups into cincinnati. oh, guess what we weren't paying any attention over there. that whole line is absurd, quite aside from whatever coordination there was as this information was run up to the chain to washington. >> paul: we also know there were letters sent from democrats in capitol hill including max balk us, chuck schumer a very
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powerful democrat essentially challenging the irs to go after these tax exempt groups. there a sense, while we don't know to what extent the irs, at least we don't know how they were responding to those requests. the it could have been a motive for the irs? >> for sure. no question about it. guess what, they have newspapers and tvs in cincinnati and the request coming from coming, the suggestion that these groups were dark money groups that really needed additional oversight because they were overturning the entire system of electoral politics. that message got through the irs employees. whether they were acting of their own creative impulses or not. >> paul: what about the argument that, you hear from some of the liberals, these groups deserve this scrutiny because some were claiming to be social welfare
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groups and they were engaging in partisan groups. they needed this scrutiny. >> this was the part of the tactics. it came after citizens united. supreme court said hey, people have more free speech than they thought they did. nancy pelosi was saying, hey, citizens united was the reason these groups exploded. >> paul: but did some groups skirt close to the edge, that seems to be the essence of the argument that they deserved it? >> there is no indication that conservative groups were doing this more as a general matter than other groups were. there is no justification for the targeting of conservatives. >> paul: how serious do you think, you go back like i do to a lot of scandals. how serious is this in the scandal scheme of things? >> i think it's going to get very serious. one of the arguments that has been made by the other side,
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this has always happened going back in presidencies, using president, fdr, nixon most famously but all these presidencies, low level employees are doing it. the presidency did it. so in this case, to what extent was the white house or the presidency involved one way or the other. one more point to make this. this could get to the point it will involve legal issues. in other words, people will have legal exposure to what they did. when the f.b.i. investigates, government employees or even the irs officials can't lie to the f.b.i.. that is a crime. so the truth is going to finally begin to leak out. >> paul: you wrote this week, this scandal started at the top. what do you mean by that. he is claiming to be as
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outrageous as anybody else? >> what dan was alluding to. yes, we know that democrats were writing letters to the irs but at percents on the group and moment fomented by the president. he was out there given dozens of speeches, criticizing and suggesting they may be operating illegally. we don't know where they are getting their money. many they are being controlled by a foreign coming. if you work for the irs, you hear the president of the united states making allegations like that, there is a reason you may sit up and pay attention or do something about it. he helped create the environment and also going out and targeting romney donors by name, putting out the fact calling some of them less than reputable, one of them ended up after being named by an obama website in this
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manner ended up getting hit by three federal audits in the space of four months. >> paul: we will be covering this every week. still ahead, despite the scandal engulfing the agency, irs is undergoing a big expansion, thanks to new role as chief obamacare enforcer. what you need to know, next. all business purchases.
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mandated to buy health insurance also to pay a tax penalty. a mandate on businesses to provide right kind of health insurance. there are 47 major changes of tax laws and they have a much larger policy making role in terms of regulation, what counts as workweek. who counts as a full time worker. >> paul: how many new workers have they asked for? >> they have asked for 1900 full time equivalent for 2014. the affordable care act is big part of the irs. that is about 700 people directly working on it and whole bunch of people brought in. >> paul: they are going to connect data from different parts of the government, big new database? >> right with the hhs they are building something they are building something called the federal data hub. >> paul: that is what we need.
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[ laughter ] >> if you have the right healthy care and cross that with homeland security and huge information technology. >> paul: just so i understand. if i under pay my taxes, i say you owe us "x" amount of dollars. now if i apply for federal health insurance and i make a little more than what i'm supposed to, irs will be able to say, you don't qualify, so you pay a fine, sorry, you have to pay "x" dollars? >> right. what they will be looking at do you have the right kind of health care. if you don't, you pay a penalty. they will be calculated ago subsidy and everybody in the health care industry, will be reporting information into the data hub that will cross-check to figure out if you are complying. >> paul: what are the implications for the affordable care act as it rolls out. is this going to complicate.
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>> it's already complicating the rollout. you see republicans making the case which i think is definitely has to be asked about whether or not you can trust the irs to be doing such an enormous part of this. some of them actually saying this is an additional reason for why the health care laws should be repealed. if you think about it, giving the irs those immense powers, it's inconceivable. we have the news, too, that the woman who was the commissioner of tax exempt organizations at the irs during the time the irs was targeting conservative groups, she has been moved on to a new job. guess what division he is running. she is running the obamacare office. >> paul: that is real confidence booster. [ laughter ] >> why the irs so deeply involved. >> somebody has to enforce it. if you going to enforce health
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insurance, somebody has to enforce it. >> the thing about the tax system and irs, there are a lot of criminals exploit. there is medicare and medicaid fraud. they know systems will be set up to exploit obamacare criminally. they will set up a dragnet to catch people which they are not very good. in the meantime, innocent people employers who are trying to juggle these new rules are going to get caught. >> paul: is there anything here that congress can do about this? could it really "x" out the irs and give it to somebody else? >> we've seen a lot of funding battles in congress how much money are they going to get, 1900 employees and so forth. this is headed straight for october. in the meantime, i don't think there is very much they can do to block this. >> paul: so the ultimate cure here, you have to repeal it. >> it's a political question. >> paul: when we come back the
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american press corps goes on the attack about the justice department's seizure of reporters' phone records part of an investigation into a national security leak that the administration says put american lives at risk. is that justification enough for the subpoenas. dorothy rabibowitz weighs in next. ♪ ♪ (vo) purina cat chow. 50 years of feeding great relationship
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♪ ♪ >> paul: white house dealing with another controversy, revelations that white house got secret phone records of the a.p. and classified information about a covert c.i.a. operation in yemen that disrupted a bomb plot. eric holder that recused himself from the probe defended his
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department calling the leak very serious. >> i've been a prosecutor since 1976. i have to say this is among if not the most serious, in the top two or three serious leaks i remember seeing. you put the american people at risk. you put the american people at risk. >> paul: "wall street journal" editorial board member, dorothy rabinowitz, this is media outrage, is it justified? >> i think you could look at it as posturing that is because we use the word overbroad is the only excuse. that a clinical term for what really happened. there was built in guidelines by getting alerting. >> paul: they didn't alert the
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a.p., and typically in media cases like this, they negotiate with the media they didn't in this case? >> not only that, but they didn't allow for the company involved with the a.p. to go to court to narrow, to negotiate and narrow the scope of this investigation. so when you say overbroad, what really happens. what really happened they went in there and cast a wide net so the result is, reporters talking to anybody about anything.... >> paul: anything. >> this is chilling effect. this was a serious matter and it could impinge on things. however, we all know nobody wants to endangering national security.
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wikileaks gentleman. >> paul: but his deputies and you are saying we're task by the president in this case and by the law with investigating leaks the damage national security, what do you do? don't you have an obligation to enforce the law? >> of course, you do, but you do it in a way they have the safeguards to do. >> paul: why do you think they did what they did? >> that is the question. >> to intimidate the press? >> there is another possibility. sheer aggressive incompetence. don't underestimate what is going on here. the president that appointed him that is unprepared and untrained zbluich so blun derbuss government. this went all the way, holder
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recused himself but it did go up to the deputy attorney general. they must have understood this was serious business they could have had media blow back. >> i think the heart of it one of the worst leaks that eric holder was trying to describe that put american lives at rick. if you put them in front of the american people and ask them to weigh the first amendment right of press, i think the press is going to lose. >> this was the story, the story led to the fact that we had an undercover agent inside al-qaeda. by blowing that cover or showing people we had that, that is going to make it harder in the future because people are risking their lives, hey, they can't keep their mouths shut in the united states and i'll be at risk. >> they were asked to make a judgment whether to publish.
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it decided to go ahead with publishing it. what is not covered by the first amendment is news gathering techniques. those aren't protected. that has been litigated by the supreme court. the press has to be careful about getting itself into a gray area the ability to do the job gets peeled back because court decision run against it. >> paul: how damaging is the story is both in a legal sense and political? >> that is the question because it is part of the great picture we have incompetition and aggression and everything else. it's very hard to separate the a.p. story from the rest of it. in the aggregate all of it is possible blunder bus by accident it could be a blun derbuss by intention. it has an affect in how it is operated ends up you are causing
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trouble. it is the arrogance of power. >> paul: we've got stop here. we'll take one more break, hits and misses of the week. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+.
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♪ 6. ♪ >> paul: time for our hits and misses of the week. first to you. >> well, this is hit to the third circuit court of appeals that was second court to say obama recess appointments, non-recess appointments to the national labor relations board. court said they were unconstitutional. so they are invalidity vietnam, 200 decisions by the board could be overturned. so the board is carrying on as nothing matter but it's time to rethink. >> they took a huge step forward this recent day because the university of montana received
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from the u.s. justice department a new directive expanding the meaning of harassment. first and foremost, if you ask a woman out for a date and rejects it and you flirt, this constitutes harassment and she doesn't like it. okay, secondly, it doesn't have to be objective harassment, but factual harassment but if she feels harassed. this directive goes to all universities taking money. >> paul: i take that as a hit. >> a miss this week nothing can escape politics, new app that lets you scan items at the supermarket and see if they were made by koch industries. so liberals can buy the right paper towels and sending money to the koch brothers they might spend on politics. >> paul: oil executives because they supported libertarians. that is it for this week's show.
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thanks to my panel and especially all of you watching. i'm paul gigot. we hope to see you right here next week. it's been a week of it's been a week of nonstop news. department of justice grabs phone records from the associated press claiming it needs information and to leaked secrets. irs admits to targeting conservative groups, delaying or denying requests to be recognized as tax exempt while greasing the skids for liberal groups to do the same thing. more details revealed about the attacks in benghazi. talking point emails give clarity to the administration's spin on the tragedy. a trifecta of problems gets full media attention. plus an abortion doctor gets convicted of murder. the media finally show up. o.j. is back in the news and the press is not too kind.

The Journal Editorial Report
FOX News May 19, 2013 12:00pm-12:31pm PDT

News/Business. Paul Gigot discusses news, politics, society and finance. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Irs 11, Lyrica 4, Us 4, The Irs 3, Cincinnati 3, Paul Gigot 2, United 1, Fdr 1, Fda 1, Carl 1, Kim Strasel 1, Benghazi 1, Secondly 1, Washington 1, Hives 1, Yemen 1, Blisters 1, The F.b.i. 1, Vietnam 1, Purina Cat Chow 1
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